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USDA responds to concerns, extends sign-up date

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Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announces that USDA has extended the sign-up deadline from June 1, to Aug. 14, for both the Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP) and the forthcoming Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program.

This action extends the sign-up deadline by 10 weeks to give producers ample time to decide whether to participate in ACRE or remain in DCP.

“Extending the DCP and ACRE sign-up deadline will help ensure that America's farmers have enough information and time to determine whether to participate in the ACRE Program. The DCP and ACRE programs play a critical role in the farm safety net and it is vital that we act to support the hard work of the farmers we depend on," Vilsack said.

Sign-up for ACRE is expected to start in late April, with an official sign-up announcement to be made in the coming weeks. Producers can elect ACRE at their FSA county office after the sign-up period commences. The original June 1 deadline may have forced producers to rush their decision, which is why this extension gives producers more time to make an informed decision about staying with DCP for 2009 or participating in ACRE for crop year 2009 and beyond through 2012.

The ACRE program, authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, provides eligible producers a state-level revenue guarantee, based on the five-year state Olympic average yield and the two-year national average price. ACRE payments are made when both state and farm-level triggers are met. By participating in ACRE, producers elect to forgo counter-cyclical payments, receive a 20-percent reduction in direct payments and a 30-percent reduction in loan rates. The decision to elect ACRE binds the farm to the program through the 2012 crop year, the last crop year covered by the 2008 Act.

For more information about ACRE, DCP and other price support programs, visit your FSA county office or http://www.fsa.usda.gov

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